In Bangladesh, rural life used to come to a grinding halt after sunset due to lack of access to electricity. Even for those with access, frequent power cuts led to loss of economic productivity, reduced study time for children, and women often felt unsafe walking through the streets. What did Bangladesh do to change the situation?
To provide electricity to remote and rural areas where grid electricity could not be reached easily, Bangladesh turned to renewable energy. Started in 2003, the Rural Electrification and Renewable Energy Development (RERED) project provided access to electricity to 14 percent of the country’s population. Through a public-private partnership program with Bangladesh’s Infrastructure Development Company Limited (IDCOL), 4.2 million solar home systems have been installed in rural households and remote shoals and islands. Now, the World Bank is helping Bangladesh to expand the use and access of clean and renewable energy through other interventions such as solar irrigation pumps and solar mini-grids, as well as improved cookstoves.
In April 2018, the World Bank committed an additional $55 million to the Second Rural Electrification and Renewable Energy Development (RERED II) Project to install 1,000 solar irrigation pumps, 30 solar mini-grids, and about 4 million improved cookstoves in rural areas.